When Dennis McGrew joined Anvil forty years ago, things looked a bit different. Dennis joined Anvil in February of 1983, only twelve years after the company was founded.
“It was really small at the time,” Dennis shares, “I’m talking like forty people. Everyone could fit in one room.”
In 1985, Dennis was asked to lead the newly opened branch office in Anchorage, AK. This was Anvil’s first expansion outside of Washington State.
After establishing a strong presence in Alaska, Dennis returned to the Bellingham branch and became the manager of the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1991.
Dennis also served as a senior vice-president of Anvil during this time, a role he served for several years. In 2001, Dennis assisted with the opening of our office in Concord, further developing Anvil’s business in California. For a brief period in the years that followed, Dennis was also the CEO of Hipp-Anvil in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“Since day one, Anvil’s been a fantastic place to work,” Dennis says. “Everyone is enthusiastic to come to work.”
Dennis was hired by Larry Levorsen, a friend of his father-in-law. During his time at Western Washington University, Dennis would often spend summers fishing with Larry and his family.
“Our founders, Larry Levorsen and Ron Vekved, were two men I admired,” Dennis shares. “They really set us up to succeed by establishing our employee-owned status. It sets us apart from any engineering company I’ve ever seen.”
As further branch locations have opened and the world around our organization has changed, Dennis lauds the consistency of his work over the last four decades.
“As we opened our office in Anchorage, and then eventually in Concord, and so on – it was unique in that our culture really didn’t change,” Dennis says. “We still worked as a team in every office, just as we do today. Even when COVID-19 occurred and we were forced to work at home, it didn’t really change a whole lot for us.”
Within Dennis’ team of mechanical engineers, he’s created a strong culture of collaboration.
“Our teamwork is what sets us apart,” Dennis says. “We’re extremely stable. There are no rivalries between offices – we are just one. I genuinely enjoy coming to work every day.”
Since 2010, Dennis has taught a pressure-vessel course to the next generation of mechanical engineers, instructing three graduates about every two years.
“It’s one of the most important things we can do,” he says.
One of Dennis’ current pupils is Josh Seig, a Jr. Mechanical Engineer who joined Anvil in 2021. Josh can often be found at his Dennis’ desk, engaged in conversation.
“I have spent much of my time at Anvil under Dennis’ mentorship,” Josh shares.
“He has helped me to become a better engineer by sharing his knowledge of industry, codes, and mechanical systems.”
Josh is also a graduate of Dennis’ pressure-vessel course.
“Dennis is always willing to field tough technical questions and provide guidance, while also allowing me to work independently and grow as a new engineer,” Josh says. “More importantly, Dennis is a pleasure to work with. He is a great mentor – I have learned a lot from Dennis, and I am glad to have the opportunity to work with him.”
Thank you, Dennis, for an invaluable forty years – here’s to many more!